Thursday, February 26, 2015

Jewish-Jazz Fusion Group Visits Ghent

Posted By on Thu, Feb 26, 2015 at 9:00 AM

Sha’ar
  • Sha’ar

Sha’ar is Hebrew for “gateway.” Appropriately, it’s also the name of a multinational, musical boundary-crossing quartet that fuses jazz sensibilities with global Jewish musical traditions. This Saturday, that Sha’ar will perform for a special candlelight concert at the enchanting Omi International Arts Center.

Sha’ar features acclaimed American drummer and percussionist (and 2007 Music Omi program alumni) David K. Freeman; Israeli-Canadian-American guitarist Oren Neiman; Arentinian-American clarinetist Ivan Barenboim; and American bassist Doug Drewes, According to the arts center, “This musical project explores the various Jewish musical traditions of its members, and uses these traditions to inform the compositions played by the group in an attempt to create a musical language that is coherent and unique to the group, informed by jazz and global music.”

Dig this promo clip of Sha’ar in action:


Sha’ar will perform on February 28 at 6:30pm at Omi International Arts Center in Ghent, New York. A reception will follow with drinks and snacks prepared by a local chef. Admission is $10 (free for Omi members). For tickets and more information, call (518) 392-4747
or visit www.omiartscenter.org.

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Richard Dreyfuss in Columbia Memorial Health Benefit at Helsinki Hudson

Posted By on Thu, Feb 26, 2015 at 8:00 AM

dreyfuss.jpg

We’re going to need a bigger bank note.

Richard Dreyfuss from Jaws is coming to Helsinki Hudson on March 15 for “An Evening with Richard Dreyfuss,” in which the Academy Award winner will discuss his film career, political activism, and his civic education initiative in a benefit for Columbia Memorial Health.

Dreyfuss will talk about a number of issues through the Dreyfuss Civics Initiative, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization he founded in 2010 that encourages public school curriculums to cover American government and history.

“We must teach our kids how to run our country with common sense and realism, before it’s time for them to run the country,” he says. “If we don’t, someone else will run this nation and the experiment of government by, for, and of the people will have failed.”

While his organization’s primary goal is supports civic education, Dreyfuss will also cover a number of other issues through the initiative, including environmental problems and substance abuse.

Dreyfuss has accumulated a significant amount of political experience by serving on and participating in educational institutions worldwide. He previously served as Senior Research Advisory Member of St. Antony’s College at Oxford and spent 12 years on the Board of the National Constitution Center, an institution established by Congress to spread knowledge and understanding of the Constitution. He is currently a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and serves on the American Bar Association’s committee for education.

The evening won’t be all politics, though. Dreyfuss will also talk about his acting career and personal experiences behind the scenes of American Graffiti, The Goodbye Girl, Jaws, and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, as well as his more recent work on the small screen in shows like “Parenthood” and “Weeds.”

Audience members will have the opportunity to ask Dreyfuss questions about anything and everything, from his close-ups with the famous cinematic shark to his stance on STEM curriculums in schools.

Doors open at 6pm for the March 15 event; The show begins at 8pm. Visit Helsinkihudson.com for more details.

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Our River on Drugs

A talk by Dr. Emma Rosi-Marshall

Posted By on Wed, Feb 25, 2015 at 4:00 AM

caryinstitute.jpg

What do allergy medicines, hairspray, insulin, energy drinks, antibiotics, makeup, and coffee have in common?

They’re destroying our waterways and the plants and animals that live there.

Dr. Emma Rosi-Marshall, a freshwater ecologist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, will talk about this destructive relationship in her February 27 presentation, “Our Rivers on Drugs,” at the Cary Institute. Wastewater treatment facilities can’t filter out everything, she explains, and contaminants from our households are swimming by unfettered into our neighboring streams and rivers. This infusion of manmade chemicals has gone untested until now.

Dr. Rosi-Marshall and her team tested the waters in New York, Maryland, and Indiana and came to an alarming conclusion: the pharmaceuticals we’ve dumped in our waterways had a significant negative impact on algae respiration and photosynthesis, the latter of which fell by 99 percent in the most extreme cases. Algae acts as a kind of large-scale air filter, absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen into the atmosphere.

The team tested for six drugs, including antihistamines, caffeine, an antibiotic, and a medication for diabetes. These are common everyday chemicals in the United States, and now, Dr. Rosi-Marshall can add them to the list of our ongoing offenses against our own biospheres.

“Pharmaceutical pollution is now detected in waters throughout the world,” she wrote in a press release. “Causes include aging infrastructure, sewage overflows, and agricultural runoff. Even when waste water makes it to sewage treatment facilities, they aren’t equipped to remove pharmaceuticals.”

Her presentation at the Cary Institute will elaborate more on how they conducted their study, its conclusions (one of which is the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria), and what we can do to eradicate the problem.

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Noyes Channels Ellison in Albany Tomorrow

Posted By on Tue, Feb 24, 2015 at 9:00 AM

Roger Noyes
  • Roger Noyes

Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man has taken on added prescience in light of the recent events in Ferguson, Missouri. A classic of American literature, the 1952 novel is a powerful commentary on race relations and individual identity that has lost little of its impact in the 63 years since its publication. It also uses jazz as a central device, at one point referencing Louis Armstrong’s moving version of “(What Did I Do to Be So) Black and Blue.” Guitarist Roger Noyes has seized on this connection, and tomorrow will present a program of new musical compositions and readings based on Ellison’s book as part of the Albany Public Library's popular “Reading Music” series.

Himself a far-from-invisible presence on the Capital Region music scene, Noyes is most active with the Arch Stanton Quartet, which not long ago toured Egypt and performed at the Cairo International Jazz Festival. Featuring original music inspired by Invisible Man, the program, says the guitarist, is “part book discussion and part music performance, this event is a unique opportunity to delve deeper into Ellison’s work and learn about the composing process.” Accompanying Noyes, who once taught English literature at SUNY Plattsburgh, will be trumpeter Terry Gordon, drummer James Ketterer, and bassist Tony Berman.

Here, Noyes performs with the Arch Stanton Quartet in 2013:

The program will take place February 25 at 7pm in the Albany History Room at the Albany Public Library. Admission is free. For more information, call (518) 427-4300 or visit http://www.albanypubliclibrary.org/.

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Monday, February 23, 2015

Winter Never Tasted So Fresh

Posted By on Mon, Feb 23, 2015 at 9:00 AM

A Modern Milkmaid's Cremenbert and cream cheese with pesto from Betty Acres Farms with what remains of an herb loaf and chocolate croissants with sea salt from Twisted Jeanne's bakery - HILLARY HARVEY
  • Hillary Harvey
  • A Modern Milkmaid's Cremenbert and cream cheese with pesto from Betty Acres Farms with what remains of an herb loaf and chocolate croissants with sea salt from Twisted Jeanne's bakery

Sometimes it’s the simple things that you do as a family that really makes your day. Like going to the winter farmers' market, stocking up on fresh, locally-made food, and then sitting down together for a farm-fresh lunch.

We finally made it down to the bi-weekly Kingston Winter Farmers' Market and said hi to some of our summer pals, like the Touseys, Northwind Farm, and Acorn Hill Farm. The kids loved our serendipitous meetings with friends and hung out at Livingston Street Early Childhood Center’s booth. Catskill Mountain Music Together was there. We tried some new cheeses, handmade at Betty Acres Farm, from cows milked just last Wednesday. We decided to conduct a taste test at home and chose an assortment of apple varieties from Maynard Farm. At Twisted Jeanne’s, we bought an herb loaf and some chocolate croissants baked fresh that morning. We closed our eyes and pretended it was summer in Provence… or the Hudson Valley.

We can’t wait to check out the Hudson Valley Farmers' Market, which is open year-round from 10a-3p, every single Saturday. Hawking wares like sweet winter beets from Migliorelli Farms, gluten-free chicken pot pie from the Bearsville Bakers, plus vegetables, fruits, eggs, cheeses, meats, fish, and flowers from local Hudson Valley farms, it sounds like a delicious place to be. It’s located on a farm (Greig’s in Rhinebeck, to be precise), so don’t be surprised if you see Pickles, the baby pygmy goat walking by while you shop. Those pygmy goats just love to be handfed by children! There’s local Hudson Valley music every Saturday, and plans to offer more and more kids’ activities like face painting and storytelling as the weather gets nicer and nicer.

Most of the area’s winter farmers' markets are open December or January through April or May, are located in some warm, indoor, community space, offer kids’ activities, and feature a lot of the same farmers you know and love from the summer markets. There’s one near you, so find it at Hudson Valley Bounty. Get ‘em while they’re here!
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Sunday, February 22, 2015

Shovel Smart: Tips for Snow & Ice Safety

Posted By on Sun, Feb 22, 2015 at 4:26 PM

buddha_snow.jpg

February is almost gone, but the snow and ice keep coming - reminding us that we're still very much in winter's grip. After nearly every snowfall, I find myself recalling Billy Collins' poem "Shoveling Snow with the Buddha": "...with every heave we disappear / and become lost to each other / in these sudden clouds of our own making, / these fountain-bursts of snow."

There is indeed a beautiful monotony of shoveling - but it can be a dangerous business if you don't do it safely. Daniel Markowicz, MD, orthopedic surgeon at White Plains Hospital, offers a few tips to reduce the risk of injury to the back, which is particularly susceptible. “Shovel snow in smaller loads, bending at the knees and lifting with your legs rather than your back," says Markowicz, "and step in the direction in which you are throwing the snow to prevent the low back from twisting."

Certain individuals may also be at increased risk for a heart attack when exerting the body in cold weather. “Shoveling snow can increase your blood pressure and heart rate," says Markowicz's colleague, Rafael Torres, MD, medical director of Emergency Medicine at White Plains Hospital. "That, combined with the blood vessel constriction and the resulting decrease of oxygen in the heart that occur in cold weather, can set you up for a heart attack.”

Both doctors advise waiting until you've been awake for at least a half hour before shoveling snow, to let the body and heart wake up. Avoid heavy meals and caffeine before shoveling, and take the time to stretch before heading outside. Those with a history of heart disease or who have had a heart attack should talk to their doctors about whether or not they should be shoveling snow.

And don't forget to take breaks to catch your breath, like Collins' Buddha does: "leaning for a moment on his shovel /before he drives the thin blade again / deep into the glittering white snow."

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13th Annual Bard SummerScape

An Ode to Carlos Chávez

Posted By on Sun, Feb 22, 2015 at 8:00 AM

Bard_Fisher_Center_10.jpg

The 13th annual Bard SummerScape begins on June 25 and runs for eight weeks through August 16th. An array of music, dance, theater, opera, cabaret, and film acts take the stage, though the true star of the SummerScape is the 26th Bard Music Festival.

This year, the festival focuses on Carlos Chávez, the 20th century Mexican composer that influenced the development of modern Latin American music as one of the first composers to reference Mexico’s indigenous beginnings. The festival will showcase a vast amount of his work, with performances by the American Symphony Orchesta (ASO).

The ASO will also perform The Wreckers by Ethel Smyth, an opera based on the impoverished coastal Cornish towns in Britain that extinguished beacons, allowing ships to crash on the rocky shores. Leon Botstein will conduct the performance under the direction of Thaddeus Strassberger.

Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! will also be performed. Director Daniel Fish “creates a boldly intimate chamber production” of the classic show, according to the SummerScape website (http://fishercenter.bard.edu/summerscape/). The production also includes new music arrangements by Daniel Kluger.

A theater-installation hybrid performance piece titled “Everything by my side” by Fernando Rubio, a contemporary artist from Buenos Aires, features seven actresses in seven pristine white linen beds. Individual audience members remove their shoes, hop in beside them, and listen as they recount vivid childhood memories in intimate whispering voices.

Bessie-award-winner Pam Tanowitz choreographed a postmodern ballet for a debut SummerScape performance featuring the highly-acclaimed American FLUX Quartet. In addition to the nine-dancer show, there will be a world premier of an en pointe solo created specifically for this year’s SummerScape by Ashley Tuttle, former principal dancer of the American Ballet Theatre.

In addition, “Reinventing Mexico,” a film series that delves into the way Mexican culture influenced Chávez’s work, will be showing films each weekend from July 11 to August 2. The series starts with Redes (The Wave), with music composed by Chávez’s protégée, Silvestre Revueltas, and ends with a group of international films like John Ford’s adaptation of The Power and the Glory and Sergei Einstein’s unfinished work. An extensive retrospective of surrealist master Luis Buñuel, whose worldly influence on his films is often compared to that of Chávez, will also be showing.

Tony-nominated performer Justin Vivian Bond will present live music and a cabaret every weekend in the Spiegeltent, the Fisher Center’s on-site restaurant. The mirror-lined tent will host a schedule of world-class performers, musicians, and DJs.

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Thursday, February 19, 2015

Electronic Duo Debuts New Project in Troy

Posted By on Thu, Feb 19, 2015 at 9:00 AM

Mark Fell and Keith Fullerton Whitman
  • Mark Fell and Keith Fullerton Whitman

We Hudson Valley/Capital Region locals are incredibly lucky to have EMPAC in the neighborhood. Since 2008, the sleek, high-tech, multi-venue arts center on the RPI campus in Troy has been presenting knife-edged contemporary programs and events in myriad disciplines, and experimental music has been a constant field the whole way. One such happening on the EMPAC docket is the American premiere on February 21 of a new project by the duo of Mark Fell and Keith Fullerton Whitman.

Fell and Whitman have been called two of contemporary electronic music’s most restless innovators. Fell focuses on computer-generated work and hails from the English city of Sheffield, a hub of electronic and industrial music in the 1970s and ’80s. Currently in residence at EMPAC, he’s developing a project that merges sound and dance. Based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Whitman specializes in “truly live” analog mediums and has released dozens of full-length albums, singles, remixes, and compilation tracks.

Here’s footage of the duo at Cafe Oto in London last fall (a solo set by Thomas Ankersmit is first):

Mark Fell and Keith Fullerton Whitman will perform at EMPAC in Troy, New York, on February 21 at 8pm. Tickets to the performance are $18 ($13 students and seniors; $6 RPI students). For more information, call (518) 276-3921 or visit empac.rpi.edu.

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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Pianist Bill Mays Performs on Saturday

Posted By on Tue, Feb 17, 2015 at 9:00 AM

Bill Mays
  • Bill Mays

Jazz pianist Bill Mays came on the scene at the dawn of the 1970s, first becoming a fixture in Los Angeles before landing in New York in 1984. A studio sideman to some of the music’s leading singers—Frank Sinatra, Sarah Vaughn, Al Jarreau, Dionne Warwick, and Anita O’Day—he’ll be bringing his ivory magic to bear on Baba Louie’s Back Room as part of Pittsfield, Massachusetts’s 10x10 Upstreet Arts Festival on February 21.

In LA, Mays worked with such West Coast cool icons as Buddy Collette, Art Pepper, Harold Land, Shelley Manne, Gerry Mulligan, and Bud Shank before moving into the fusion era with Tom Scott’s LA Express, sitarist Dr. L. Subramanian, and even Frank Zappa, with whom he played clavinet. Once in New York, he performed with the likes of Ron Carter, Al Cohn, Benny Golson, Eddie Daniels, Mel Lewis, Paul Winter, Rufus Reid, and Phil Woods, in addition to many others. Mays is also a respected composer and arranger who’s written for the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band, the Woody Herman Orchestra, and film soundtracks (Hamlet, Anamorph, Burn After Reading). So, yeah, he’s what you might call a badass.

Here’s a bit of why:


Bill Mays will perform at Baba Louie’s Back Room in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, on February 21 at 8pm. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. For more information, call (413) or visit www.BerkshiresJazz.org.

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Monday, February 16, 2015

The Lazy Parent’s Guide to Indoor Fun

Posted By on Mon, Feb 16, 2015 at 9:00 AM

Romping inside the fort - HILLARY HARVEY
  • Hillary Harvey
  • Romping inside the fort


This is not your average suggestion list, filled with activities that involve a lot of prep time and DIY. Because let’s be really honest here. Are you lazy, or is crafting just not your scene? It took me a long time to admit the latter. It's hard not to feel guilty, seeing all the fun other people have with "easy", make-your-own, glow-in-the-dark bubble projects! And "easy", make-your-own sensory tables! But there’s fun to be had indoors that doesn’t require a shopping list. Here’s how my family makes our own on these long, end-of-winter days when the littles and I are hanging, or when my older one has a snow day.

Fun for everyone
• Stack a pile of books next to the bed and read the afternoon away under the covers. (All right, maybe this one is better if you first make a trip to the library.)
• Sip some hot chocolate together. Preferably with marshmallows.
• Pull out some coloring books and crayons and put on a story CD. You can also download free stories from Storynory.
• If you’re really helpless, check out this post on the best coloring books from Design Mom, my favorite parenting blog (because they never pretend that I can do any of the stuff there, and they fully admit that there's a paid staff).
• Blow up balloons and play ball in the house.
• Put on the radio and have a dance party. I fully support you if you sip some wine first. The cats at Kingston Wine Co. can help you pick the perfect one.

Preschool fun
• Build a world with blocks and let the plastic animals, superheros and dollhouse dolls claim it for their own. If you end up with a lot of border disputes, use furniture to separate the kingdoms.
• Stand up the couch cushions in a rectangular formation, and lay a throw over the top. Voila! It's a fort! Stock their digs with a tea set for hours (or maybe half-hours) of fun.
• Similarly, couch cushions make great lily pads for leaping. If you’re really brave, you can let them sled down the stairs on one!
• Make something in the kitchen. It can be smoothies, pre-packaged cookie dough (my family loves these), anything. Kids don’t care. They just love to help!
• Take a bath (and throw in some clean, empty containers). That one sounds weird, but nothing calms kids down like a chance to practice pouring. And then you win the Lazy Parent prize: the kids get clean, and you contain the mess!

There are lots of meanings for the word, crafty.
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Hip Hop Dance with Anthony Molina @ Hudson Opera House

Hip Hop Dance with Anthony Molina

Thursdays, 5-6 p.m. Continues through Dec. 16 — Join in the ever-popular weekly hip hop dance workshop taught by Anthony...

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